Football Features

“That’s Tom Brady!” – Player ratings as Liverpool beat 10-man Arsenal and make EFL Cup final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:05, 20 January 2022

In a wild night of football, Liverpool beat 10-man Arsenal 0-2 in North London to qualify for the EFL Cup final.

With no Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané in their side and after a tepid 0-0 draw in the first-leg, Liverpool were expecting a tough night but in the end two goals from Diogo Jota made light work of the Gunners.

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates:

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Aaron Ramsdale – 4 – So slow to react to Jota’s dribbler of an opener, rash to come out for Jota’s second. Not his best night.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 4 – Put in a blender by Jota for the goal, and all match really. Looked like he had been rushed back to play.

Ben White – 4 – Far too passive defending Jota for the goal, completely bamboozled for the second as well. Any time Liverpool could get him out in the open away from Gabriel he looked like food.

Gabriel – 6 – Really good. No help from his team-mates.

Kieran Tierney – 6 – A solid display but wasn’t at his usual best, especially going forward.

Sambi Lokonga – 5 – Was always a risk to play him at pivot and in truth, didn’t really excel. He did look bright when Arsenal were on the front foot they were just too rarely on the front-foot.

Bukayo Saka – 5 – Simply not a factor in the match.

Emile Smith Rowe – 5 – Looked half-fit as he struggled to get involved.

Martin Odegaard – 7 – Great pressing all night. A really bright performance as he stood tall for Arsenal, leading the defensive effort but also playing smart, sharp passes.

Gabriel Martinelli – 6 – Very bright. Ran at Trent all night long and even managed to cause him some trouble early. End product was lacking.

Alexandre Lacazette – 5 – Struck the bar early with a free-kick. Inexplicably blazed over from a 1-v-1 in the second-half. Linked play well enough but just didn’t offer enough of a threat, the free-kick notwithstanding.


Eddie Nketiah (for Lacazette 74′) – 5 – Didn’t really impact the game.

Thomas Partey (for Smith Rowe 74′) – 3 – Did nothing but pick up two silly bookings and get sent off. Obviously in no state to play having only returned from the Africa Cup of Nations earlier today, but the gamble taken by Arteta didn’t pay off.

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Caoimhin Kelleher – 7 – Big save from Lacazette’s free-kick, tipping it onto the bar. Didn’t have too much to do besides that but dominated his area well and swept up behind his high-line nicely.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9 – Simply majestic. Struggled a bit with his defending at times but his every action on the ball was liquid gold football. Picked up a smart assist for the opening goal and a simply otherworldly one for the second. “That’s Tom Brady!” exclaimed Jamie Redknapp after the match, extolling the brilliant of the cross for Jota’s second by comparing it to a pass from the great NFL Quarter-Back. Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the top three Englishmen playing today and he ain’t third. Absolutely world-class.

Joel Matip – 5 – Shaky in possession, couldn’t live with Arsenal’s direct running. Scored but was offside.

Virgil van Dijk – 7 – Mostly solid, but had a few rickety moments when Arsenal ran at him on the ground. Surprisingly the Gunners didn’t test him like this that much.

Andrew Robertson – 7 – Endless up and down, helping in defence and attack.

Fabinho – 6 – Really poor in possession and out of it for the first-half. Had no presence before the break, but did manage to do better after the break which is why the Reds had such a comfortable time after the break.

Jordan Henderson – 7 – Worked hard all over the pitch.

Curtis Jones – 6 – A superb tackler, presser and runner, Jones’ inability to see a pass is all that was holding him back.

Kaide Gordon – 5 – Never really got into the game. Skied over a great chance to make it 0-2.

Diogo Jota – 9 – A superb run and improvised finish to open the scoring against the run of play. Repeated the trick with a sensational run in behind Ben White and took a gorgeous touch before lobbing the ball over Ramsdale to bag Liverpool’s second. A devastatingly incisive display from the man Liverpool needed to stand tall in the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. “He’s a star player,” said Paul Merson after the match, and he’s not wrong.

Roberto Firmino – 5 – Mostly a passenger, but the Reds were able to overcome that.


Ibrahima Konate (for Matip 46′) – 7 – Smashed a header off the post. Really added solidity to the Liverpool side.

Takumi Minamino (for Gordon 64′) – 5 – Wasted a couple of nice chances.

James Milner (for Henderson 75′) – 6 – Worked hard.

Neco Williams (for Firmino 84′) – n/a – Came on late.